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Menaggio, Lake Como – Things To Do & Travel Guide

Beautiful colorful buildings of Menaggio with pink flowers in the foreground

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Menaggio, on the western shores of Lake Como, is one of my favorite towns in Lake Como. This charming town, with its lakefront promenade, piazzas and great restaurants offers stunning views of the lake and a taste of life in Lake Como. I got lost in the streets of Menaggio, took the wrong bus (this is what happens when you don’t read the signs on a bus before boarding :)) and that led me to explore more of this beautiful town during our trip to Lake Como.

Woman admiring the colorful homes and marina of Menaggio

Menaggio is quieter than the glitzy and colorful towns of Bellagio or Varenna and is perfect for those who love less crowded spots. It is easily accessible from Lake Lugano, Como town and relatively less expensive making it a great base in Lake Como. Even if you only have a couple of days in Lake Como, I recommend adding a few hours in Menaggio to your itinerary. 

This blogpost is the ultimate travel guide to Menaggio – where to stay, transportation options, things to do in Menaggio, places to eat and first timer tips to visiting Menaggio.

Menaggio is known for its stunning natural beauty, breathtaking views, historical richness, and recreational activities. 

The most famous landmark of Menaggio is the promenade. Villa Mylius Vigoni, Menaggio Golf Club and the lido are other popular attractions that Menaggio is famous for. 

Menaggio is a perfect blend of incredible landscapes, medieval architecture and outdoor fun.

A serene view from Menaggio overlooking Lake Como, with a foreground of green trees and parked cars, and majestic mountains meeting the lake in the distance under a clear blue sky.

Menaggio is a gem in Lake Como. While it is often overlooked for the more famous towns of Bellagio and Varenna, Menaggio has its own charm and is definitely worth visiting in Lake Como.

I (literally) got lost in Menaggio and had a lot of fun walking around the cobble streets and exploring the town by myself.

  • Picturesque waterfront promenade with breathtaking view of Lake Como and surrounding mountains. It is one of the best instagram worthy places in Lake Como.
  • Historic landmarks like Villa Mylius Vigoni and Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi transport you back to the Medieval times.
  • Hiking and biking trails nearby make it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Easy access by road and train from Como town and Lugano.
  • Central location on Lake Como and easily accessible.
  • Menaggio is less expensive than the other famous towns like Bellagio and Tremezzo.

Summer in Menaggio is warm and sunny, with perfect conditions for swimming, boating, and enjoying the vibrant lake life. The temperatures range from low to high 20s C (around 70 – 80°F) in the summer.

Spring and autumn seasons are cooler with temperatures ranging from the mid-10s to low 20s°C (about 60°F – 70°F).

An ornate wrought-iron gate opens to a garden pathway leading to pastel-colored homes nestled amid lush greenery with a backdrop of the hillside in Menaggio.

Nearest Airport: The nearest airport to Menaggio is Lugano Airport (LUG) in Switzerland, located about 34 km (about 21 miles) from the center of Menaggio, Italy.

Nearest International Airport: Milan Malpensa (MXP) in Italy is the best international airport with larger number of flights and connections. It is about an hour away from Menaggio.

Zurich Airport is another option for international flights near Menaggio.

Depending on your preference for speed, convenience and cost, there are several options to get from Milan Malpensa Airport to Menaggio. 

Car Rental or private transportation

Renting a car at Malpensa Airport and driving to Menaggio offers the most flexibility and convenience. The drive takes about 1.5 to 2 hours and follows the A9 motorway towards Como, then continuing along the lake road. We rented a car and drove through Lugano and it was very convenient.

Private transportation is available and is one of the convenient ways to transfer without worrying about driving or parking.

Menaggio's local bus station, featuring a canopied area with buses in the background, a gas pump, and a blue sky, conveying a sense of everyday local transport.

Public Transportation (Train and Bus)

If you don’t have much luggage, public transport is a good option to reach Menaggio from Milano. First, take a train from Malpensa Airport to Saronno (about 20 minutes), and then transfer to a train heading to Como Lago station (about another 40 minutes).

From Como, you can catch a C10 or C20 bus directly to Menaggio. The bus ride takes about 1 hour and provides beautiful views of Lake Como.

Alternatively, you can take a direct bus from Malpensa Airport to Como city (approximately 1 hour). From Como, transfer to the C10 or C20 bus to Menaggio.

Shuttle Services 

Some companies offer shuttle services from Malpensa Airport to Menaggio. Book these in advance as they get sold out in the summer. 

Ferry from Como 

After arriving in Como, you can take a ferry from Como to Menaggio. The ferry terminal is located in Como City Center.

Relaxed perspective of a person sitting on cobblestone pavement with legs stretched out, viewing the sunlit Chiesa di San Rocco and surrounding pastel-hued buildings in Menaggio.

No. Menaggio does not have a train station. The town is located along the shores of Lake Como and is accessible by bus, ferry, or car.

The nearest major train stations are in Como, Varenna, and Lugano, from which you can take a bus or ferry to reach Menaggio. 

To travel by train to Menaggio, take a train to one of these nearby towns of Varenna, Como or Lugano. From there, you can either take a ferry from Varenna, ferry or bus from Como and a bus from Lugano.

Varenna colorful houses view from Lake Como ferry
Colorful homes of Varenna viewed from Lake Como

Menaggio is directly across the lake from Varenna, and the two towns are quite close to each other geographically. The distance between them is about 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles).

The most common way to travel between Menaggio and Varenna is by ferry. The ferry ride across the lake takes around 15 minutes and offers beautiful views of Lake Como. Check the latest ferry schedules as they can vary seasonally.

Menaggio is approximately 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) away from Bellagio.

Lake side town Bellagio's beautiful homes from the water
Bellagio view from Lake Como

The most common mode of travel between Menaggio and Bellagio is by ferry. There are direct ferries from Bellagio to Menaggio and take about 15-20 minutes. The Menaggio ferry terminal is conveniently located on the waterfront.

Menaggio is approximately 34 kilometers (about 21 miles) away from Como town. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Menaggio by car and over an hour by bus from Como town. I took the bus C10 for exploring (not all the way to Como town) and found it to be a very convenient and comfortable ride.

  • Menaggio’s central location provides easy access to the other popular towns of Bellagio,  Varenna and Tremezzo. 
  • It is easily accessible from Como and Lugano. 
  • Menaggio is less expensive compared to Bellagio and other central towns on Lake Como.
  • It is laid back and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Menaggio has some of the best lake views in Como and is home to many great restaurants.
Scenic view from Lake Como of the elegant Grand Hotel Menaggio, with its yellow façade and green shutters, set against a backdrop of lush hills under a clear blue sky.

The Grand Hotel Menaggio is one of the most exclusive hotels in Lake Como with a prime location right on the lakefront. With elegant rooms, a swimming pool overlooking Lake Como, and a restaurant with panoramic views, it offers a truly upscale experience. It is steps away from the ferry terminal and is a perfect base if you are looking to explore nearby towns.

Located in the heart of Menaggio, this charming boutique hotel is steps away from the lake and Menaggio’s main attractions. The location of this hotel and the lake views are unbeatable!

Known for its exceptional lake views, Hotel Bellavista combines comfort with the charm of a family-run boutique hotel. The hotel offers rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and a perfect location with amazing views.

Menaggio offers a blend of natural beauty, historical sites, and leisure activities. Here are some of the best things to do in Menaggio.

Vibrant marina scene at Menaggio on Lake Como, featuring boats moored in the calm waters with colorful buildings and a busy promenade under the bright Italian sun.

Enjoy a leisurely walk along Menaggio’s scenic promenade with stunning views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. This was one of the most relaxing stroll I had in Lake Como. 

Piazza Garibaldi in Menaggio by Lake Como, featuring a spacious square with outdoor seating at a café, an advertisement sign for gelato, and architecture with intricate balconies under a bright sky.

My favorite pastime in small Italian towns is wandering through the historic streets and people watching in the Piazzas.

The historic Chiesa di San Rocco in Menaggio bathed in sunlight, showcasing its simple yet elegant yellow façade and religious statues, adjacent to a quiet street intersection.

Wander through Menaggio’s charming streets, visit its piazzas like Piazza Garibaldi, Piazza Roma. Take time to explore the little church of Chiesa di Santa Maria and Chiesa St. Stefano. 

Explore this beautiful villa and its English-style garden. The villa is a center for Italian-German cultural exchange and offers guided tours.

Spend a day at the Lido di Menaggio, where you can swim in the lake or pools, sunbathe. There is a restaurant and cafe where you can wine and dine. It is one of the best beach clubs to swim in Lake Como.

Enjoy a round of gold at one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious golf courses view beautiful views of Lake Como.

Bustling town center in Menaggio with pedestrians strolling and dining under parasols, flanked by pastel-colored buildings and a historic church tower in the background on a sunny day.

Menaggio market is another fun local spot to explore in Lake Como. It takes place on Via Stoppani on the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month with local artisanal products and produce.

One of the best ways to explore Lake Como at your pace is a taking a private boat tour. A private boat tour provides a personalized and luxurious way to see the lake’s beauty, offering unparalleled views and the freedom to tailor your itinerary to your interests.

Promenade with red rails with views of Lake Como
Varenna lakefront promenade

Use Menaggio as a base to explore other picturesque towns around Lake Como, such as Bellagio and Varenna, easily accessible by ferry. Visit the famous villas – Villa Monastero, Villa del Balbianello.

Tremezzo is a short bus ride away and a great town to visit from Menaggio. Be sure to check out Villa Carlotta and Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Hike Castello di Vezio for beautiful panoramic views of Lake Como

Lake Lugano is a short 30-40min drive and is a great place to visit from Menaggio. It is across the border in Switzerland with a mix of Swiss and Mediterranean influences. Lugano offers picturesque lake views, boutique shopping and beautiful parks.

A delicious meal at a Menaggio restaurant, featuring a caprese pizza topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a slate board, accompanied by a glass of white wine and a bottle of olive oil.

Osteria Il Pozzo is a must visit in Menaggio. The restaurant serves a simple menu but each item is delicious! Have a taste of the rabbit dish and tiramisu for dessert.

This restaurant is a gem in Menaggio. It is a bit of a walk from the city center but the ambience and dishes are well worth it. The lake fish risotto is a must try here.

This restaurant is a simple spot with authentic Italian dishes like pizza and pasta served with house wine and other local wines. I devoured a caprese salad and a delicious pizza all by myself.

A visit to Menaggio is not complete without a stop for gelato at Gelateria Artigianale Edo in Piazza Garibaldi.

Yes, Menaggio is quite walkable and is actually best explored on foot. Its picturesque waterfront promenade, historic piazzas, and narrow streets filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants, are all easily accessible by walking. The main attractions are all in the heart of Menaggio and within  walking distance of each other.

Additionally, Menaggio serves as a starting point for several walking, hiking trails making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. I enjoyed walking all around Menaggio including the popular attractions as well as the narrow streets near the bus station. Ferry is the best way to explore other towns nearby.

Relaxed perspective of a person sitting on cobblestone pavement with legs stretched out, viewing the sunlit Chiesa di San Rocco and surrounding pastel-hued buildings in Menaggio.

Like the other towns of lake Como, I found Menaggio to be very safe. I explored Menaggio by myself, walked the cobbled streets alone and even took the public transport and never once did I feel unsafe.

As with any tourist destination, it’s wise to take precautions and be aware. This includes being mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas or when using public transportation, and staying aware of your surroundings. 

Menaggio is relatively less expensive compared to the other towns of Lake Como like Bellagio or Tremezzo. Here’s a breakdown of how expensive Menaggio is based on several factors.

Accommodation: Hotel prices in Menaggio vary widely, with options ranging from four-star hotels to budget hotels. Hotel prices in Menaggio are less expensive and budget friendly compared to other towns of Lake Como.

Dining: Menaggio offers a variety of dining options, from upscale restaurants to casual cafes and gelaterias. While dining on lakefront restaurants can be expensive, there are also more budget-friendly options available, including pizzerias and trattorias. 

La Trattoria Costantin is one of my favorite trattorias with great pizzas and classic European charm.

Colorful children's playground in Menaggio near Lake Como, with a yellow and green slide, play structures, and a bright yellow building in the backdrop, under a clear sky.

Activities: Many of Menaggio’s attractions, like exploring the town’s charming streets, visiting public parks, and enjoying the lakeside promenade, are free. Boat rentals are also less expensive from Menaggio compared to Bellagio.

If you are deciding between Bellagio or Varenna, it is an easy decision depending on whether you prefer high end touristy town or a quiet, relaxing town. But deciding between Varenna and Menaggio is bit difficult and it really depends on your personal preference.

In my opinion, Varenna is more charming and romantic while Menaggio is more practical and caters to tourists of all budgets and preferences.

Bellagio is glamorous and the most popular town with high end shops, boutiques and upscale restaurants. If you want to be in the hear of Lake Como and all the action, choose Bellagio.

Menaggio is more laid back with lots of outdoorsy activities and relatively quieter. If you love beautiful lake views that are less expensive but equally charming, choose Menaggio. It is an ideal starting point and base if you coming from Lake Lugano.

Parking in the towns of Lake Como can be a challenge. Menaggio does offer several parking options compared to other towns in Lake Como like Bellagio. We also found Menaggio quite easy to drive compared to the other towns like Varenna and Bellagio. These are some options for parking in Menaggio:

  • Free parking areas: There are areas around Menaggio where parking is available for free. These are typically a bit further from the town center. Look for white-lined parking spaces, which indicate free parking.
  • Paid and street parking: Paid parking areas are often located near major attractions and the lakefront. You’ll find blue-lined parking spaces indicating paid parking areas. Payment can be made at nearby parking meters, and rates and hours of operation can vary. 
  • Parking lots and garages: Look for parking lots and garages, one is located near the ferry terminal. These lots offer both short-term and long-term parking options. 
  • Hotel parking: If you are staying at a hotel in Menaggio, several hotels offer self or valet parking for the duration of your stay.

Yes, you can swim in Lake Como near Menaggio, and it’s a popular activity during the warmer months. Menaggio has designated areas for swimming, including public beaches and lidos that are equipped with facilities such as changing rooms, showers, and sometimes swimming pools alongside direct lake access. 

Lido di Menaggio, a beach resort in Menaggio, is a perfect place and a popular spot to enjoy swimming in Lake Como. It features a sandy beach, grassy areas for sunbathing, swimming pools (including a children’s pool), and direct access to the lake for swimming. 

Menaggio, centrally located on Lake Como is one of the best towns in Lake Como and a great base to explore the towns of Como. It is relatively less expensive compared to the other popular towns of Lake Como but is equally charming and a must visit in Lake Como.

Although quieter than other towns, the lakefront promenade, Villa Mylius Vigoni and Lido di Menaggio are popular and must visit attractions in Menaggio. It is a perfect home base for outdoor enthusiasts and close to Lake Lugano for a quick day trip. Make sure you add this charming town to your Lake Como itinerary, you will be pleasantly surprised!

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Beautiful colorful houses and boats of Menaggio in Lake Como with pink flowers in the foreground and a text overlay titled "Menaggio Lake Como Travel Guide"
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I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.

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